AICPA Lawsuit Against IRS Dismissed Over Standing

Earlier this year the IRS announced its new “Annual Filing Season Program,” a voluntary program for tax preparers to register with the IRS. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) filed a lawsuit asking for the program to be blocked. The IRS asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the AICPA had no standing to sue the IRS in this case. Judge James Boasberg agreed with the IRS, and today the lawsuit was dismissed. Judge Boasberg is the same jurist who decided Loving v. IRS.

I’m not an attorney, so I’m not going to give a treatise on standing. Luckily, there are attorneys who write tax blogs. Leslie Book in Procedurally Taxing gives all the background on standing you might possibly need. Judge Boasberg noted the real reason that the AICPA sued,

Beneath its amorphous rhetoric about confusion, the crux of Plaintiff’s concern is apparent: its membership feels threatened by the specter of increased competition from previously uncredentialed preparers who choose to complete the program.

The AICPA could appeal the decision. I could also envision them refiling the lawsuit, and adding individual CPAs to the lawsuit (and perhaps other types of preparers, such as Enrolled Agents and unenrolled preparers). In any case, it now appears quite likely that the Annual Filing Season Program will go forward.

That said, the long-term prospects for the Annual Filing Season Program aren’t good. As noted in Procedurally Taxing the class action lawsuit against the IRS’s PTIN fee continues. I can foresee other challenges to this program. And until Congress authorizes the IRS to regulate tax professionals the IRS is limited to purely voluntary programs.

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One Response to “AICPA Lawsuit Against IRS Dismissed Over Standing”

  1. […] Season Program (AFSP). Almost exactly one year ago, a District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the AICPA did not have standing to sue. The AICPA appealed that ruling, and in a decision announced today the Court of Appeals for the […]

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